Egypt's Suez Canal Authority says it will maintain tolls at their current prices this year, as development of a second parallel waterway proceeds on schedule.

The canal authority chief, Mohab Mameesh, announced the decision on Wednesday in the canal city of Ismailia, saying that the expansion work would be finished as expected in August.

The canal earned a record $5.455 billion in revenue last year, the most lucrative year since its inauguration in 1869, compared to $5.105 the previous year.

Egypt is the gatekeeper of the canal, one of the world's busiest water corridors and the strategic link between the Red Sea and the Mediterranean. It is a main source of income and Egyptians have pinned much hope on its expansion to relaunch a battered economy.